Metascore
72

Generally favorable reviews - based on 36 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 29 out of 36
  2. Negative: 0 out of 36
  1. 75
    Choice, a luxury of the Corleones, is denied to the Sullivans and Rooneys, and choice or its absence is the difference between Sophocles and Shakespeare. I prefer Shakespeare.
  2. 75
    Romanticizes gangland Chicago, but no more so than other films set in the same period. And, like almost every movie about the mob, this one deals with themes of family, loyalty, and betrayal -- albeit without the intensity of some of the great ones ("The Godfather," "Goodfellas").
  3. 75
    Paved with such good intentions and talent that it's sad to report this lavishly mounted gangster epic - the most serious-minded Hollywood film of the season - doesn't come close to living up to expectations.
  4. 100
    Has the juice to get its hooks into you, knock you off balance and keep you that way for two hours. It's a triumph for director Sam Mendes. The passion and precision of his Road work is staggering.
  5. Subdued yet percolating with suppressed emotion.
  6. In the scenes between Hanks and Newman, we get glimpses of greatness.
  7. A change from summer fare, but it doesn't make the picture compelling to watch. You won't find the detail of the "Godfather" films or the psychological complexities of Martin Scorsese's gangster movies. The plot holes are big enough to hide Al Capone's illicit millions in.
  8. A truly majestic visual tone poem.
  9. There's much that's simplistically grand, worthy, and fine in Perdition. If I yearn for less measured filmmaking that cries out with more reckless despair, it's because I think hell on earth is a meaner, much more interesting, and far less tidy cinematic place than Mendes trusts his audience to handle.
  10. Long and winding though it may be, Road to Perdition gets to places that are well worth the trip.
  11. 63
    Its seriousness is welcome. It's also a burden the film can't completely surmount.
  12. 100
    Mendes, in only his second feature (following the Oscar-winning "American Beauty"), has told this surprisingly resonant story with the potent, unrelenting fatalism of a previously unknown Greek myth.
  13. Reviewed by: Ken Fox
    80
    This dark, almost mythic heart is what makes the film such an emotionally rich experience.
  14. There's something impressive and yet lacking about everything.
  15. 100
    Overflowing with melancholy and tragedy, Road to Perdition is one of the most somber gangster pictures ever made.
  16. Reviewed by: David Edelstein
    50
    Law gives a doozy of a performance: He's fond of bulging his eyes, curling his head like a gargoyle, and displaying a set of rotten yellow teeth. This is some of the most flamboyantly bad acting since Brad Pitt in "Twelve Monkeys" (1995). An Oscar nomination would appear inevitable.
  17. Results are classy entertainment with little to interest women viewers but very shrewdly and cleverly put together, and probably more rewarding in long-range terms if you invest in Fox or Dreamworks than if you actually see the movie.
  18. 50
    Feels like a movie that keeps wishing it were something else: an award-winning play, a grand novel, an epic poem, anything but that populist thing we call a movie. Mendes makes movies as if he hates them.
  19. Try as he might, (Hanks) is miscast in Road to Perdition, a partly satisfying gangster drama that amounts to less than the sum of its handsome parts.
  20. Mendes -- wants to have it both ways, to get close to mob life, but be no part of it. And he keeps us at a dime-novel distance, too. He has made a dreamy, poetic impression of a world that exists only on film and in comic strips, and that has no resonance for most of us.
  21. Reviewed by: Todd McCarthy
    90
    Sam Mendes' much-anticipated second effort after his Oscar-winning "American Beauty" finds him working in a very different key while displaying an even more pronounced attentiveness to tone, genre variations and artistic niceties.
  22. 83
    It's a dark, brooding, moody film that follows a grim narrative to a logical inevitability and is nonetheless fully infused with a spirit of humanity.
  23. It's a genteel film with a gun in its pocket, but it's also a film with a universal chord of feeling that keeps welling up from the dark surfaces and violent byways of the plot-and a final confession that both warms the heart and chills the blood.
  24. Paradoxically, the closer Mendes gets to his characters, the more remote Perdition becomes. One wishes that his film had as much heart as it does art.
  25. This is a remarkably good-looking near-corpse of a film, with a pulse that fades in and out.
  26. The movie misfires: It's numbingly cold and soulless, and the zeitgeist stays far beyond its reach. But it's so visually striking you almost don't notice, its relentlessly somber mood has a certain masochistic appeal and, while hardly a career-redefining performance, Hanks is as winning as ever.
  27. 50
    On screen, Road to Perdition becomes a lace-curtain shoot-'em-up about fathers and sons. The graphic novel is more kinetic and more powerful than the motion picture.
  28. 70
    Mendes' second effort plays like a familiar song transposed to a minor key, a gangland fable soaked in portent and fatalism until its familiarity ceases to be an issue.
  29. 60
    Visually more coherent than "American Beauty," but despite the burnished mahogany of Conrad Hall's cinematography, Mendes still doesn't quite know how to fill a frame. Like the Hanks character, he's a slow study: The action is stilted and the tabloid energy embalmed.
  30. Reviewed by: Mike Clark
    75
    Impressive yet always self-conscious, Perdition has more class and less sass than any movie in a while.
  31. 40
    Like a date who's primped too long to arrive at dinner with something to talk about, Road to Perdition is beautifully groomed and a perfect drag to be with.
  32. It's a dirty, ugly, joyless world these fathers and sons live in, and for all the passion involved, of retribution and a father's fierce love, Perdition is as emotionally distant as Sullivan. The feelings are all there, just submerged.
  33. Reviewed by: David Ansen
    50
    Self-conscious to the point of suffocation.
  34. 70
    For all the beauty and power of Road to Perdition, there's not much spontaneity in it, and the movie's flawless surface puts a stranglehold on meaning. [15 July 2002. p. 90]
  35. This movie would be worth feting in any season. It's wrenching but never manipulative, stoic but never dull, exhausting but never wearying.
  36. 70
    I'm not sure Sam Mendes' latest is a masterpiece as so many critics are exclaiming but it is very probably the most artful and earnest drama ever adapted from a comic book.
User Score
7.6

Generally favorable reviews- based on 129 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 52 out of 70
  2. Negative: 8 out of 70
  1. Aug 2, 2014
    10
    Road to perdition is a fantastic crime saga in the vein of crime classics like The Godfather. The actors
    give tremendous acting and the story
    is very engrossing. Road to Perdition will take you on a journey
    you'll never forget.
    Full Review »
  2. Jul 8, 2014
    8
    Overall, this one is quite good. The acting, as expected from a cast of this kind of talent (Tom Hanks, Paul Newman, Jude Law, Daniel Craig, AND Stanley Tucci?!) is awesome. I was kind of worried about Hanks playing an against type character, but he did so very well and really stood out. In addition, the cinematography is breathtaking at almost every turn. Each image is beautifully crafted and not enough praise can be given to it. Road to Perdition is a definite slow burner, but never fails to completely grip you and really pays off at the end with a very touching, tragic, and moving, ending. For the most part, this one really rises above what you would expect from a typical gangster film and really finds a way to make all of these people seem entirely human. In addition, in a short period of time, all of the characters are well crafted, in large part thanks to a great script. Now, is this a great film? No, but it is certainly a damn good one that lives up to the hype for me. Full Review »
  3. Jun 28, 2014
    10
    A dark, action packed crime drama from the director of American Beauty. Road to perdition will thrill you, shock you, involve you and endear you with its touching story. Road to perdition is very underrated and easily one of my favourite movies ever. The movie is stunning crime thriller with an unpredictable epilogue. Full Review »